The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a new health mandate to maintain 6 feet of distance.
This rule had implications on everything from socializing to eating at restaurants and going to work. For WyoFile, it brought new challenges to reporting, interviewing subjects and, especially, photographing Wyoming’s stories.
Not only were photographers urged to stay farther from subjects, but many of Wyoming’s more dynamic and photogenic events — sports games, concerts, rodeos — were cancelled.
Our photographers got creative, however, donning masks and using long lenses in some cases. And they delivered. WyoFile’s 2020 photos capture a state in upheaval and a year defined by adaptation and hardships.
The images also chronicle stories of fire and resilience, portray well-loved Wyoming residents and showcase the one-of-a-kind people, landscapes and wildlife found here.
Preparing for a pandemic.
This rescued raptor recovered and was later released back into the wild.
Hourly workers were among those hit earliest, and hardest, by the pandemic’s economic downturn.
Residents of southwest Wyoming contemplate a future that depends less on coal-fired power plants.
During Wyoming’s legislative session, the bills, budget and lawmaker battles tend to hog the limelight. But when photographer Mike Vanata visited the Capitol in February, he noticed the behind-the-scenes workers who make the operation run so smoothly.
Snow art, courtesy of a raptor.
Douglas native Larry “Sissy” Goodwin, who gained national renown for his stubborn individuality and penchant for dresses, died in March. He was widely celebrated.
Some residents decried government shutdowns and health orders as unconstitutional.
Masks became a particular point of contention in 2020.
Gov. Mark Gordon often found himself at the center of the debate over health orders.
The impacts of the coal industry decline rippled across the state.
Visitation to Wyoming’s public lands spiked in 2020.
Smarter than your average bear.
Winter in June on the Green River Drift.
Protests erupted in Wyoming cities big and small in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.
After an 8-minute, 46-second silent vigil remembering George Floyd, protesters in Jackson became vocal.
In Laramie, Black Lives Matter protests reinvigorated a movement calling for the firing of an Albany County deputy who killed an unarmed resident in 2018.
Counter protesters also hit Wyoming streets.
… to roll coal at Black Lives Matter supporters.
Streak in the sky.
Wildlife detective work.
Wyoming’s primary and general elections drew enormous turnout through in-person and mail-in voting.
The Mullen Fire ultimately spared the Shogrens’ house but not others’.
Officials believe the Mullen Fire is the largest wildfire from a single start in state history.
Students across Wyoming adapted to education in the COVID-19 era.
A moonlit marvel in Yellowstone National Park.
As the year drew to a close, the first vaccines were administered in the state, offering a ray of hope.